HEALTH - Stages of pregnancy

There are three stages of pregnancy; the weeks are grouped into three trims, called trimesters. Each trimester is three months.


• The First Trimester (Weeks 1-12)
The first prenatal visit is the most important step. A complete medical history is taken, a physical examination is conducted, as well as certain tests and procedures are performed to assess maternal and paternal family medical history, personal gynecological and obstetrical history, the Rh factor and the initial health of the mother and the embryo. Also conduct the laboratory tests which includes urine tests (to screen for bacteria, sugar, and protein) and routine and other blood tests (to determine blood type) blood screening tests - to detect diseases (i.e., rubella, also called German measles) etc.

Pelvic examination is also important to asses the size and shape of your uterus (womb) and a Pap smear to check for abnormalities of the cervix (the opening of the uterus).

Maintain a moderate body temperature during pregnancy (especially during first trimester) is important and it may prevent birth defects.

• The Second Trimester (Weeks 13-27)
This is usually the time when mothers feel their best. During the second trimester, your baby grows very rapidly, and his arms and legs become well-developed and strong. You may notice these well-developed limbs in the form of kicks coming from inside your uterus. By the end of the second trimester, the baby is almost fully formed but the lungs need to develop further and the baby needs to put on more fat and weight before delivery day.

During the second trimester, in each monthly visit the doctor usually checks your blood pressure and weight and you will leave a urine specimen. Your physician can hear your baby's heartbeat and measure your abdomen to ensure your baby is growing appropriately. Most women get a comprehensive ultrasound around Week 20 and can find out the gender of your baby during this visit. (It is not 100% accurate in determining gender. The sex identification from the fetus is not permitted in India and it is an offense and both the patient and the doctor can be prosecuted)

The Third Trimester (Weeks 28-42)
During the third trimester, both the mother's body and fetus continue to grow and change. The mother may feel more uncomfortable now as she continues to gain weight and begins to have false labor contractions (called Braxton-Hicks contractions).

Your physician may check the following, depending on your current medical condition and the health of the fetus:
• mother's weight
• mother's blood pressure
• urine test - to detect albumin (a protein) which may indicate preeclampsia (Preeclampsia is the most common complication of pregnancy and a condition in pregnancy characterized by a sharp rise in blood pressure, leakage of large amounts of the protein albumin into the urine and swelling of the hands, feet, and face). or toxemia, and sugar
• position, growth and development of the fetus
• height of the top of the uterus
• fetus heart beat

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